A Marymount Alumna’s Look at Studying Abroad

Jillian Neuner ‘19, Editor-in-Chief

After departing from Marymount, many Sailors choose to continue their academic studies abroad during their college years. Marymount alumna Pati Lara, a current freshman at New York University, is no exception. Pati is presently participating in a global liberal studies core program at NYU’s campus in Florence, Italy.

Pati in front of a cathedral in Milan.

I interviewed Pati to ask about her study abroad experience, and she shared that immersing herself in a foreign environment has allowed her to learn and participate in social engagement. She explains:

“After studying abroad for a year and visiting ten countries, I have learned that although people may live in communities different from those we have lived in, we all have similar formative experiences that allow us to connect on a deeper level.”

Pati has realized that language barriers and cultural differences should be celebrated, as they allow her to “adapt to [her] surroundings while simultaneously trying to soak in the beauty of diversity.” While conveying the importance of cultural diversity, Pati also recognizes that she has formed a new perspective regarding the extent to which issues permeate our world:

“I now view the world in a more realistic sense. I am able to recognize the beauty of traveling and being immersed in different cultures, but [I am] also able to take a step back and analyze systematic issues that affect various communities.”

Pati in the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco.

In reflecting upon her year-long travels, Pati shows gratitude for this “journey of self-discovery.” She values the ways in which studying abroad has exposed her to different lifestyles and prompted her to explore her newfound independence. Although hesitant at first to spend a year away from her family in a different country and on a different continent, Pati feels grateful to have had this experience. She remains confident that “every Marymount girl has been prepared one way or another for studying abroad” and gaining these invaluable perspectives.

Pati’s visit to a cathedral in Barcelona during Spring Break.

Lastly, through her endeavors abroad, the future of her educational track has crystallized: Pati hopes to double major in politics and American studies, and she aspires to eventually practice law. In her final piece of advice, Pati offers:

“Although I have an idea of what I want to study, being abroad, combined with not having a traditional freshman year, has taught me that life does not always need to go exactly the way one plans it. Life experiences can teach you more than you could ever anticipate.”